A common question in the property management business is, 'What are the documents an HOA needs?'. HOA governing documents are a set of documents that are used to guide the day-to-day operations and rules within a community.
Quite often the governing documents will include articles of incorporation, bylaws, covenants, and rules and regulations but these documents can vary from one HOA to the next and are also partially determined by state laws.
HOA Governing Documents in Detail
Almost every state has statutes governing condominiums and homeowner associations. In addition most associations are subject to the state corporations’ code. If you are on a board or establishing a new community, make sure you check your state laws to determine which documents are required.
Association governing documents are almost always trumped by state law. But, when association documents conflict among themselves, the declaration or proprietary lease carries the greatest weight, followed by the bylaws and then the rules and regulations.
Declaration, Master Deed, or Proprietary Lease and Their Covenants and Restrictions
Planned communities are created by declarations (also known as master deeds). Cooperatives are created with proprietary leases (also called occupancy agreement). These contain the restrictions that regulate residents’ behavior, they define owner’s rights and obligations, and establish the association’s responsibilities.
Articles of Incorporation
Most associations, and all cooperatives, incorporate and have articles of incorporation which is a document that establishes the existence of a corporation. They are generally filed with the Secretary of State.
Bylaws address association operations such as procedures for meetings and elections and specifying the general duties of the board. They may also specify such things as the number of directors and their terms of office.
Resolutions—Rules and Regulations
Board members adopt rules and regulations, and sometimes members have to approve them. Rules and regulations are recorded as board resolutions. Resolutions must be consistent with the declaration or proprietary lease, the bylaws and state law.